The OFIFC is excited about the future; both the opportunities we will pursue and the challenges we will overcome. Our priorities are guided by our 20-year Strategic Plan (2005) as Friendship Centres continue to thrive as leaders to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people living in urban areas.
1. Culture and Education
We commit to developing a means for the recognition by non-Indigenous mainstream of our history, cultures and traditions, and to tell our stories in the language of our identity, in peoples’ own voices and on their own terms.
We will continue to foster and promote innovative education and awareness strategies for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, ensuring that an alternative secondary school is set up in every Friendship Centre. We will maintain and strengthen our dynamic, community-driven research agenda and support relevant action research projects to tell our story and to have our voices heard in all relevant fora, using appropriate media and encouraging Indigenous art forms as educational and economic opportunities
2. Leadership and Leadership Development
We will open opportunities for youth involvement to develop the leaders of tomorrow. This includes maintaining and strengthening a volunteer base, as well as providing mentors to assist in balancing the fiduciary responsibilities of navigating government funding and the evolution of self-government of Friendship Centres. To accomplish our leadership goals, we will continue to develop and provide the training of Board members on fiscal responsibility, planned development, research, evaluation, and articulation of goals. We will ensure that culture and language are maintained within the Friendship Centres and urban communities. We will also document best practices, develop service models, and provide volunteer recognition.
3. Governance and Political Involvement
We will continue to establish relationships and a strong and identifiable presence in the political circles where decisions are made that impact urban Indigenous communities, and we will create formal recognition of the strengths and needs of the vast and growing urban Indigenous population. We have an ongoing commitment to the development of protocols and self-government models to create a tangible urban Indigenous political presence and to drive tangible change.
Our goal is to reduce or eliminate reliance on government grants and contributions, breaking the cycle of dependence, and arriving at a common definition of "self-sufficiency". We will continue with the ongoing training of Board, staff, and community members on investment opportunities, private sector support, and service contracts with First Nations and Métis people. We will continue to develop innovative strategies for accessing and creating new resources and economic development opportunities, such as the Villages Equity Corporation (VEC), to support Friendship Centres in becoming more than primary social service agencies.
5. Program and Service Delivery
We will support Friendship Centres as "one stop” service hubs, recognized as legitimate urban service providers by Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, and community service providers to ensure that relevant policies and procedures reflect the values and utilize traditional cultural processes. We will continue to develop community driven consultations and input from those who use Friendship Centres, and on-going program reviews to ensure that the current delivery models are appropriate to the needs of the community. Our wholistic approach, which is grounded in culture and our understanding of a life cycle, focuses on prevention and promotion, and, as such, it will be applied to all aspects of work, from staffing, extended hours, and recognition of the professional standing of service workers, to ensuring that programs are offered inclusively to all, including Métis, Two Spirited people, youth, and people living with disabilities).